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Grabbing iTMS Preview Tracks the Geek Way
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4. Open your file in TextEdit. It may initially look like a mess, but search for those items that start with http://. Those are URLs and they lead directly to M4P (music) and M4V (video) files.

figure 4

Fig. 4. The URLs in the Playlist text file lead to audio and video previews.

5. (Optional) If you have a copy of Excel or another spreadsheet, you can open the playlist file to get a better view of the tabular data stored inside it. Choose File -> Open, select your file, and tell Excel's Text Wizard that you're using a tab-delimited text file. Note that track name and artist appear in the first, left-most two columns and the file URLs appear in the final, right-most column of your spreadsheet.

figure 5

Fig. 5. Excel makes it easy to view your playlist data in columns.

6. Now that you've found the URLs for the files, you can download them to disk. (The URLs start with http:// and end with either m4p or m4v.) I like using the curl command-line utility for this. Launch Terminal and type curl followed by the URL you want to download followed by the "save to" greater-than sign (>) followed by the name of the file you want to save it to. Curl retrieves the URL you provide and the ">" command tells Unix to save the results to your file.

figure 6

Fig. 6. Curl provides a simple-to-use command-line utility for retrieving data from a URL.

7. Add your new downloaded file to iTunes by dragging the file icon onto the iTunes library. iTunes adds the new file, using the name of the file you saved it to. iTunes will not automatically add the artist, album, or even the proper title. You must do all this by hand.

figure 7

Fig. 7. Drag the M4P or M4V file onto the iTunes library to add it to your media collection.

Please note that the M4P and M4V files you download are protected. You may play them in iTunes, in QuickTime, or on your iPod, but nowhere else.

figure 8

Fig. 8. iTunes Preview Files are protected.

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